Monday, November 17, 2014

...And After The Second Half Of The Split Shift

     I'm even less sanguine about my employer's policies towards the very necessary evil of the North Campus.  Oh, don't get me wrong; the place is an historical appendage, something we are stuck with in order to pursue our business, but it also happens to be the highly regulated side of the business.  We can't just ignore it.  If it goes away, we kind of do, too.

     Ignore it we do, though.  I can't get regular walk-throughs up there scheduled on any timetable, not weekly, monthly or quarterly.  It's supposed to happen "organically," and whoever goes up there for whatever kind of fireman-style maintenance or to repair something in the very large garage is supposed to "look around."

     How well has this worked out?  Funny you should ask.  I showed up last night (on a Heisenburg-superstition shift, covering a high-dollar event on the theory that the equipment won't act up if there's someone there to watch it, since that's so much cheaper than actually doing regular maintenance) expecting one issue I wasn't going to be able to fix during the event and yep, there it was, but not expecting to find essential computer-based test gear dead of hard drive failure.  Nope, one of the few "organic" visitors had reported it wasn't measuring a couple of parameters.  Wrong, it was a frozen screen and rebooting revealed why.  And hey, guess what, you kinda need it to take the steps that will show if there's a hard failure in the other thing or its just out of adjustment, well....  There's sort of a workaround for that, if I can get time to actually do it.

     And the topper?  I go to leave, and my car is now so messed up I have to air up two of the tires daily (the wheels leak!).  The little super-flexible section at the end of air-filler hose has rotted.  Leaked like a sieve, which I found out by de-airing my already low back tire.  Forty-five minutes later, I had rebuilt the thing without the flexible hose, handy valve or pressure gauge.  It worked (I have a pressure gauge in the car) and I was able to drive home carefully through the snow.

     Not one of my best days.

     P.S., I need a vehicle.  Won't buy new, prefer 4WD, don't care if it's a gas hog.  Ideally able to transport 8'-long boards of at least 1' in width, which my tiny Hyundai hatchback will do. (Tam keeps trying to sell me on the idea of a roller-skate commuter vehicle, which would be fine 95% of the time but doesn't even begin to work for bad-weather missions to the North Campus and the like).

27 comments:

Sport Pilot said...

A new Outlander is in the low 20k range. Used ones are available of course. It's a CRV design with a 4 cylinder engine and good MPG. I'm probably going to buy one myself after I get into another house. http://www.mitsubishicars.com/outlander-sport

Roberta X said...

$20K: what my parents paid for a house. Even if I didn't object to purchases that depreciate hugely the instant you drive them off the lot, that would keep me out of new cars.

pdb said...

Every time the air turns cold, or I have to move something, or go down a dirt road, I miss my Jeep Cherokee XJ. Every time I see one in a parking lot I take a moment to look, and if it's next to a modern "compact" SUV it's amazing how smaller they are.

Mine were fairly easy to keep running and didn't have any mechanical gotchas as long as you kept up on fluid levels and changes (don't neglect the axles and transfer case!). The AW4 transmission is practically indestructible. The 4.0 L I6 will eventually leak oil, but you can either ignore or fix.

As I recall I got around 20-22mpg around town with a light foot and the AC off. I think the 1997+ were the best years, but the 1991+ models with the open cooling system aren't bad either if you can find one that hasn't been totally modded out or rusted to bits.

A lightly optioned ZJ Grand might be a good alternative too. Dangit, now you got me looking at my local craigslist!

Richard H said...

Buy my '89 Dodge Ramcharger W-150 4x4 pickup with long bed. 14 MPG For you, $3,500. It looks like the beast it is. Other drivers steer clear. Bwaaaaaa. BTW, it's in SoCal.

Roberta X said...

Bit of a problem, that. Also, pickups are not so good for my uses.

SJ said...

Don't know if you could reduce the hassle of the current car by replacing the leaky tires.

'Course, there are probably other issues with that car.

Roberta X said...

Yeah, except it's the *wheels* that leak and I can't find any. The tires are, well, not fun but they're airtight.

B said...

Try Tire "Slime" in the wheels. It works to seal small cracks in wheels or fix corroded rim sealing edges. The tire guys hate it, but is does work. '
Cheap too.

You'll need an air compressor, as you have to take the air out (and valve ) and then squeeze the stuff into the tires though the valve stem, then re-install the valve and re- inflate the tires.

Not the best thing, but it is a fix for leaky rims. Usually.....

Think Subaru for a new(er) car.

Anonymous said...

I got an old Subaru Legacy for my son to drive back and forth from college in the Virginia mountains. One day he hit some debris and blew out a tire.

It turns out that the AWD on Subarus, while better performing than many passenger cars & SUVs, has a stringent requirement for matching tire diameter. If you have 3 tires with half their life left, you can't just put on 1 new tire. Nor can you put on 2 new ones on the rear.

The obvious thing is to buy a 5th tire for the spare, and rotate like in the old days. If a blowout happens, just go back to the compact spare and use the 4 remaining tires on the ground. Alas, this does not work because the spare tire well is too shallow.

The point being, if you aren't familiar with the various 4wd and AWD schemes, be sure you know the characteristics of the vehicle you are considering. Folks who have been driving 4WD or AWD for years likely wouldn't have been surprised, but I was.

Samsam von Virginia

SJ said...

SamSam: I that issue with tires on my Subaru Outback.

One bad tire, four new tires. Because Subaru drivetrains don't like the diameter-variance between brand-new and 5000 miles of driving.

D.W. Drang said...

Used Subaru Baja?

NAVIGATOR said...

YOU MIGHT TRY AT THE MAIN BRANCH OF THE INDIANAPOLIS POST OFFICE
CONGRESS HATH DECREED THEY MUST REPLACE THEIR MOTOR POOL EVERY 3 YEARS SO THEY SELL OF THEIR OLD ROLLING STOCK THEY USED TO DO SPOT BIDS AND PAINT IT ANY COLOR THEY HAD IN THE SHOP FOR YOU AND GIVE YOU A COMPLETE MAINTENANCE RECORD
NOW I UNDERSTAND THEY ARE PERIODICALLY AUCTIONED THEY HAD ALL SORTS OF VEHICLES THAT ARE ROADWORTHY INCLUDING 4 WD TYPES

joe in reno said...

If the wheels are your major problem, look around locally for a wheel refinishing shop. Around here you can get a wheel interior refinished and sealed for around $20. Aluminum rims especially seem to develop pin holes after awhile. Used wheels w/ exchange warranty run around &45 each here at used wheel shops.

Old NFO said...

Ouch, sorry to hear everything is blowing up (or out) at the same time... You will do what you need to though. And Honda CRVs aren't bad little vehicles. My part time roommate has 2002 with 244,000 miles and it's still doing good!

Anonymous said...

Going through something similar.

Have decided on the Suburban or the Yukon XL (same vehicle - nearly - but with a GMC logo in place of the bow-tie)

Will take a 4X8 sheet of plywood. And ones that run good, but don't look great are all over and cheap. You want looks you will pay 9 grand or so...

If you want Ford - the Excursion will also take 4 X 8 sheet, but I can't find one in diesel for less than 15K around me. Most of the excursions shipped with the V10 gas engine, and that gets 11MPG on the highway.

And why anyone would buy a 2WD SUV is beyond me, but they are out there.

Suburbans are built on the GMC/Chevy frame. Excursions are an F250 with an enclosed back.

Anonymous said...

That should be the GMC/Chevy truck frame. Suburbans even have the same grill as the Chevy truck

Roberta X said...

" You want looks you will pay 9 grand or so..."

You don't know me very well. My car budget is $4500 and I don't give a crap what it looks like. In fact, I prefer a vehicle that looks kind of scary. It avoids all manner of trouble and break-ins.

Douglas2 said...

There's a set of Hyundai steel wheels with brand-new made-in china tires for $175 in a town near to you according to Craigslist.

After owning the same model car in both 2WD and 4WD, I think 2WD with high-end show tires beats 4WD with all-season tires. I've also driven a 1st generation Honda CRV with snows year-round -- it handles like a truck anyway, and it was quite handy on rainy summer days to have the traction on dirt roads. Aside for the handling like a truck bit, I found it a really practical car-- the hatch fit all kinds of things including an upright front-load washing machine, the distance from footwell to back hatch is really long, and one can even leave the hatch open with stuff sticking out. And the Fuel milage is better than even most popular mid-size cars.

Paul said...

Most blazer years are pretty solid and you can get them with 100 k on the odometer and late 90s or early 2005 or 2006 models abound. Easy to get lumber in if needed and pretty solid. Upper teens in fuel economy. Explorers can be had in that price range as well as Jeeps. I prefer the Blazer as I've had several.

Good luck on your search.

Alien said...

Older Toyota Tacoma? 2WD with chains does about as well as 4WD without, and I've seen bunches with 200K+ on the clock so they seem to hold up.

Roberta X said...

Craigslist.... It's American for "stolen goods."

Anonymous said...

cheap suburbans and Yukons. Surprised there aren't more in your area - I guess they aren't green enough for the Broad Ripple crowd.

Ken O said...

Too bad you are nowhere near Texas. I just passed a Canary yellow Jeep XJ for 3500.

squisher said...

If you don't mind older and higher miles, I've got a '00 Ford Taurus with the 24v V6, 137k miles. DD reliable, working accessories, and the back seats fold down, so it will haul long items fully enclosed.

Located in Johnson County IN.

You can probably get it for just under half your budget too :p (I have my eyes on one of the older turbo or supercharged T-Birds for some odd reason....)

Robin said...

I would second an XJ for your budget.

Larry said...

I would second the used Subaru Baja suggestion, I have one and it's a great little trucklet. It will handle your cargo needs and has the AWD you seek (but do pay attention to the "all tire diameters must match" caveat coz that's a pricy fix. Ask me how I know) and as a sort-of bonus shares most parts commonality with roomie's ride, being the pickup version of an Outback.

Jim R said...

For those facing tire diameter issues on their AWD vehicle, a shop with a tire truing machine may be able to turn the new tire down to match the old ones.

Truing was often considered a last resort to resolve vibration that remained after balancing, but in the days of bias-ply tires some suggested it would improve tire mileage.

I just saw a one of the machines while down at the local shop, and eventually put two and two together.